Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.
IPM is not a single pest control method but rather a series of pest management evaluations, decisions, and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach:
|• Set Action Thresholds
||• Monitor and Identify Pests
Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method, both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones, to disrupt pest mating or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications, and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.